Monday, April 30, 2012


"The galley slave stayed between his sea and sky.  In his dreams.  The dreams parted for just that long, then they resumed their course.  He watched and he saw sea monsters, storms, moonlight, the bustle of port towns, markets, and fairs; walnuts as fat as a man's head, ivory and eels.  No, this couldn't be real."
—page 272, The Galley Slave by Drago Jančar.


Pink Peppercorn IPA (Trip XII), an India Pale Ale by New Belgium Brewing and Elysian Brewing.

22 ounce bottle served in shaker glass.

7.5% alcohol by volume.


The pour is clear orange.  The head is a finger's worth of white.  There is almost no carbonation.

The nose is of pepper and Fruity Pebbles, which is rather enticing.

Each sip is peppery spiciness on the front, followed by citrus peel bitterness and caramel maltiness, and then finishing with a faint echo of the opening pepper.

Medium mouthfeel.


I like this for its mystery and subtlety.  It could have been overdone but it isn’t.  Rather, it is nicely restrained.

I’m not thinking IPA when I’m drinking it, though.

In fact, this is sort of the flavor profile I was hoping for in Elysian’s Fallout Cardamom Ale.  If it had been, then Fallout wouldn’t have made the dump bucket.


If I close my eyes and dream a bit, then I can imagine some A-1 steak sauce on a nice hunk of meat, and that, my friend, is a damn fine thing.

As it warms, I am reminded more of A-1 and begin to hunger for a juicy steak and another pint of ale!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Sunrise Oatmeal Pale Ale, an American Pale Ale by Fort George Brewery.

16 ounce can served in a shaker glass.

5.2% alcohol by volume.


The can looks like an energy drink.  The word SUNRISE makes me think morning.  I'm imagining some kind of dawn kick-in-the-butt to get me out of bed before I even open the can.


The pour is a hazy yellow-orange body that says, "Perhaps I'm a hefeweizen."  The head is a finger's worth of thickness.

The nose is orange citrus and flower petals.

The flavors are orange and lemon citrus bitterness, with a floral background.  It's bitter, but less so than I expected, which is likely due to the oatmeal included in the brewing process.

A smooth, medium mouthfeel transforms into a long, long bitter (yet pleasing) finish.


This is excellent.  If I had a stable of beers,* then this would be one of my anchor beers.  It's that good.


*I think I need to "build" a stable of good sessionable beers.


As to the idea of morning, I think this is one of those beers that transcends season and time of day.  I can imagine myself drinking it morning, noon, and night.  This is a sitting around with friends ale, a mowing the lawn ale, a accompanying dinner ale.  In other words, this is an anytime ale.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


ECS No Equal Amber Lager, an American Amber/Red Lager by Redhook Brewing.

22 ounce bottle served in Samuel Adams glass.

5.2% abv


It probably seemed as through TWT retired from public beer reviews and/or tasting notes, since nothing "taphandle" has been posted since The Twelfth Beer of Christmas.  It surely appeared as such to reader (and TWT friend) B.  In fact, he decided to do something about it.  He purchased a bottle of Redhook's latest addition to their Blueline Series, which was bottled in collaboration with Emerald City Supporters  (a fan club of the Seattle Sounders Football Club), and delivered the same to TWT for tasting and review.


It's amber!  The pour delivers a red-orange body with an orange-yellow aura.  It's capped with a thin white head and is very lightly bubbly.

The nose is what I think of as "classic lager" and therefore hard to explain.  The primary aromas I catch are vines and cardboard and a bit of broth.  Perhaps that cardboard note is better described as "cereal box grains," whatever that means!

The flavor is a bit better than "classic lager."  I detect broth, a hint of white raisins, caramel, and cereal box grains.  There is a bit of nuttiness on the finish.

The mouthfeel is a bit light, being just a smidgen on the watery side, but nothing to complain about.

It's better than I expected and very drinkable.


I tend to drink more ales than lagers, so I don't have a lot to compare this to.  It was a bit like a Märzen/Oktoberfest, only with more caramel than I associate with that style.


ECS No Equal Amber Lager isn't going to win any awards, but it's a sessionable and solid beer.


Thanks again to B. for the bottle and the push.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Atticus, one of two bookstore cats at King's Books of Tacoma, decided to jump onto my shoulders today and ride around while I perused the shelves.

It surprised me, even though I watched him walk up to me, crouch, and ready himself to spring onto me.  He did it with the agility of the greatest acrobats.  He stayed perched up there until I removed him, which he wasn't too happy about.  I believe he was hoping to take a nap.

Anyway, it was a unique experience in many ways.  I even ended up purchasing the book I was pulling off the shelf when he joined me.  I considered it quite the omen that I needed the book—Birds of America: Stories by Lorrie Moore—since Atticus showed as much interest in it as I did.



Poem In Your Pocket Day wasn't a complete bust for TWT.

The Child carried a copy of "Three Field Poems" around all day and has prominently displayed it upon The Child's headboard.

The Child gave a copies to two teachers at The Child's school.  Both teachers were disappointed that they didn't know about Poem in Your Pocket Day and planned on observing it next year.

Troy's Work Table was able to hand out poems to people throughout the day, mostly to friends and acquaintances.  It counts!

Troy's Work Table built a small display stand out of card stock and left FREE POETRY in Frost Park while he chalked today.  A few fellow chalkers took copies.  One wrote "I was also pretty impressed by this citizen-initiative FREE POETRY kiosk" and "Let's see more of this kind of thing!"

All of the above made Poem In Your Pocket Day (and the day after) worth it.


Blank canvas.


Almost there.

"Pursue, Consume, Illumine" by Troy's Work Table.


This week's theme for the Frost Park Chalk Off (5:4) was "American Pastimes." Where many chalkers headed down the road of baseball, TWT could only see whales. So that is where he went—from harpoon to whale to oil lamp.


View all of the Frost Park Chalk Off 5:4 entries HERE.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Troy's Work Table wandered the streets of downtown Puyallup beginning at 6:00 a.m. today, trying to hand out small booklets of his own poetry.  The commuters of the Sounder train were having none of it.

Unlike the teens of Puyallup, who were willing to at least listen to what World Book Night was about, their parents and aunts and uncles and neighbors were rather reluctant to find out about Poem in Your Pocket Day.

TWT was consistently rejected by one person after another.  Most at least feigned some sort of response, although a few people actually just stared at me as though I was a ghost, or as though they hadn't really heard me.

I left a few copies on the counter of the post office, at the return boxes of the library, and in the alternative newsweekly boxes.  Then I licked my wounds and went home to get ready for work.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Troy's Work Table and The Dog sit on a bench in the Altrusa Plaza of Puyallup's Riverwalk Trail. Photograph by The Child.

Tulips and daffodils alongside the Riverwalk Trail.

World Book Night pin about to be retired.


TWT was a Book Giver for World Book Night USA.  I had twenty paperback copies of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, specially printed for WBN, to hand out to strangers.  When I applied to be a Book Giver, my plan was to give the books to teens hanging out in Pioneer Park in front of the Puyallup Public Library.

The evening was perfect: warm but not too warm, and mostly sunny.  However, there weren't too many people out in the park.  I did end up giving eleven copies of the book to teens in the park.  They were each initially reluctant but warmed to the idea of their own FREE book once I explained the goal of World Book Night getting books into the hands of one million people in the United Kingdom and the United States in one day.

The next stop was the Puyallup Skate Park, where I was able to give away another six books.  One teen informed me, "My school counselor keeps telling me I need to read more for college. Now I have a book to do so."  Yes he does.

There weren't that many teens hanging out at the Skate Park for such a nice evening, so TWT, The Child, and The Dog headed down the Riverwalk Trail to hand out the final three copies, which we did.

The final two copies went to two teens hanging out under the Puyallup River Bridge on the banks of the river, chatting, singing, and playing guitar.  One of those initially reluctant teens said to her friend upon receiving the book, "Cool. We're part of something!"  Yes, you are.


It was a great night to wander Puyallup, to hand out books, to be part of something, to engage strangers in conversation, and to break down stereotypes.  As to the latter, I think that worked both ways.  I got to see through some of the rebellion and bravado that the teens often wear, while they got to speak with an adult that wasn't telling them not to smoke and swear, that wasn't nagging them, but merely trying to give them the gift of reading.  Even if only for a few moments, it was a wonderful experience.  I hope to be able to participate in similar events in the future.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Letterpress shenanigans, inside King's Books.

Members of C.L.A.W.

Steamroller printing press.

Revealing the 3' x 3' print.

The 2012 C.L.A.W. Wayzgoose print.


Today was the annual Wayzgoose event at Tacoma's King's Books.  The Wife and I stopped by to check out the various letterpress printers, book artists, and the ever-popular steamroller press.  Members of C.L.A.W. (The Cartoonists' League of Absurd Washingtonians) were present both inside and outside of King's Books, providing assistance with the steamroller printing and selling wares at their booth.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


The Cat in the Hat spotted on the Pioneer Park Pavilion Stage, Puyallup, Washington.

Friday, April 20, 2012


"Chalkrapus" by Troy's Work Table.

"Snow White" by Hank.

"Snow White" by Debivans.


Frost Park Chalk Off 5:3 had a theme of "dark and light" and was sponsored by Tacoma's newest vintage store Poisoned Apple.  TWT worked on the sidewalk and produced "Chakrapus" reaching for a poisoned apple.

TWT's two favorite pieces of the day, however, were both depictions of Disney's Snow White.  Neither chalk artist knew that other was drawing such, and the pieces were at opposite corners of the park.  Hank's Snow White used wall and sidewalk to give the piece a bit of three-dimensionality in a two-dimensional medium.  But Debivan's was my favorite.  His Snow White was Rubenesque and her candied apple was a poison of a different sort, but nonetheless likely fatal (in some sense).

More Chalk Off 5:3 is available HERE.


Chalkrapus is cousin to Ghostopus; Octopus (riding his bike); Khronos; and the Octopi Frost Park protestors.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Field of daffodils, Van Lierop Bulb Farm, Puyallup, Washington.

Friday, April 13, 2012


It was another beautiful day for chalk art in downtown Tacoma. Frost Park Chalk Off 5:2 lasted from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. The park was filled with chalkers, spectators, hula-hoopers, passersby, hangers-on, and people enjoying some sunshine with their lunch.

The theme for the day was "luck" for this Friday the thirteenth. Troy's Work Table worked on the sidewalk and drew "Mr. Potato Head" with a shamrock in hand.

Walking the streets and riding the Link light rail allowed for a relaxing afternoon of wandering the city to and from Frost Park.


To view all of the chalk entries and read comments on the art and the day, visit HERE.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


The Wife and I watched The Iron Lady on DVD last night.

I have to admit that I came into the movie biased since I grew up during the Reagan years and knew Margaret Thatcher as his British counterpart. I tried as hard as I could to be sympathetic to the elderly woman stricken by dementia that appeared on screen, but ultimately there were too many problems with the movie and its structure that kept me at somewhat of a distance.

[1] Having seen the movie, it's obvious why Meryl Streep was nominated for and won the Oscar for best actress. It's also obvious why The Iron Lady wasn't up for best picture or best director. The movie itself is a mess.

[2] The framing device of a befuddled Thatcher who shares intimate and nostalgic, although hallucinatory, moments with her deceased husband Denis just doesn't work for me. It's absolute fiction. Trying to get into the mind of someone suffering from Alzheimer's and frame their life events through that lens feels cruel. (Although the Margaret Thatcher character of the movie would quibble with my feeling. Thinking rather than feeling! Thoughts over feelings!)

[3] The movie jumps about in time so frequently as to cause vertigo and nausea. Young adult to elderly to mid-career politician to elderly to young adult to end-of-career politician to early-career politician, with little to hold them together other than the rattled mind of someone suffering from dementia.

[4] Live-footage scenes of social unrest in London and elsewhere are intercut with close-ups of the Margaret Thatcher (as played by Streep) and Thatcher's conservative cabinet (as played by the ensemble cast). I think the intent was to show the isolation of Thatcher and her conservative cohorts from the common people, and the claustrophobia of extreme political postitions, but instead it felt to me that the filmmakers couldn't afford (due to cost and/or time) to stage filmed versions of some of those scenes.

[5] Those of us who lived through the events depicted in the movie—British riots, IRA bombings, long dole queues, the Falkland Islands war between Great Britain and Argentina—will recognize many of the references to said events. However, for the generations that followed us, especially with regard to their apparent lack of historical memory, the movie doesn't hang enough meat on the bones of those events to let the viewer know what he 0r she is necessarily watching. I think many postmoderns and Millennials may find themselves lost when confronted by the events encountered in the film.

[6] I feared what they would do with Ronald Reagan in the film. He makes a brief two- or three-second appearance dancing with Thatcher, in a scene where the various Margarets (young and old) are dancing with their counterpart Denis. It's awkward on a number of levels. It feels as though more footage was filmed and then dropped from the final cut for one reason or another. It would have been better to leave it out. This phantom Reagan, unlike many of the other characters, doesn't appear like the Reagan of my memories. Phantom Reagan is too thin, too young, too agile. Reagan should have stayed on the cutting room floor. Or, include him, but do a decent job on makeup and wardrobe and lighting; give the same attention to him that you did Streep as Thatcher.

[7] I am still confused as to where the filmmakers sympathies lie. Is this pro-Thatcher or anti-Thather or somewhere between?

Ultimately the movie's sloppiness with the framing device and difficulties with some of its facts and structure make me distrust much of what appeared on screen. This isn't the Thatcher film I was expecting, even with my biases and prejudices temporarily placed on hold.

Friday, April 06, 2012


Opening day of season five (5:1) of the Frost Park Chalk Off was warm spring day, partly cloudy but mostly sunny.

Troy's Work Table provided "The Sleeper Awakens," which hinted at the beginning of season five, Tacoma itself awakening in a new renaissance of art and culture and growth, and the Cthulhu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. (Or "the alien wearing the Tacoma Dome as a hat," as The Child prefers to refer to it.)

Where all the chalking magic happens. View all of the entries and read all of the comments and votes HERE.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


The tool box of sidewalk chalk, charcoal, and chalk pastels is now ready for Frost Park Chalk Off season five.